Tag Archive | "matt stover"

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Ravens regular-season moment No. 3: Dilfer’s redemption

Posted on 25 June 2020 by Luke Jones

Check out the No. 4 regular-season moment in Ravens history HERE.

The Tennessee Titans were the defending AFC champions and the NFL’s best team while the Ravens were still trying to regroup entering Week 11 of the 2000 season.

The good vibes and playoff aspirations accompanying a 5-1 start had dimmed with a three-game losing streak and an unthinkable five-game stretch in which the Ravens failed to score a single touchdown. Baltimore had finally snapped that futility with a 27-7 win at Cincinnati the previous week, but beating the lowly Bengals wasn’t convincing anyone that Brian Billick’s team was truly back on track.

Just three weeks earlier, the Ravens had suffered a home loss to the 8-1 Titans, a game in which starting quarterback Tony Banks was benched in favor of Trent Dilfer. The sixth overall pick of the 1994 draft and former Tampa Bay quarterback had thrown three touchdowns in the win over the Bengals in his second start, but going to Adelphia Coliseum — a place where Tennessee hadn’t lost since its opening the previous year — was a much different test for someone with a reputation for making the critical mistake at the worst time.

The clash between the AFC Central rivals and best defenses in the league started perfectly for Baltimore as Dilfer’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Qadry Ismail and a Jamal Lewis 2-yard touchdown run made it 14-0, but Titans quarterback Steve McNair threw two touchdowns in the second quarter as the Ravens held a narrow 17-14 lead at halftime. That score held until the fourth quarter when Titans kicker Al Del Greco tied the game with a 23-yard field goal with a little over eight minutes to play.

After punting on the ensuing possession, the Ravens got the ball back deep in Tennessee territory when Peter Boulware stripped a scrambling McNair on third down and Rob Burnett recovered the fumble at the 22-yard line with 4:07 remaining. Considering the way the Baltimore defense had played in the second half, even a field goal would be a perfectly fine outcome if Dilfer and the offense could trim time off the clock.

But on third-and-7, disaster struck as Dilfer’s pass intended for speedy wide receiver Patrick Johnson was intercepted by Titans safety Perry Phenix and returned 87 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:30 to go. It was the kind of play that had too often doomed Dilfer in Tampa Bay and seemingly sunk the Ravens in a game they desperately wanted to win.

However, Del Greco’s first missed extra point in seven years offered a sliver of hope if Dilfer could regroup against a defense that had blanked Baltimore since the second quarter. The 28-year-old now had the chance to rewrite his story or to leave Billick further pondering his quarterback problems with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

The two-minute drive was far from pretty as the Ravens committed two penalties and faced a third-and-5 from their own 35 when a scrambling Dilfer found veteran tight end Shannon Sharpe downfield for a critical 36-yard completion. Nothing came easy on the next set of downs either as Dilfer threw deep and incomplete to Ismail on fourth-and-2.

But a penalty flag came as Tennessee cornerback Dainon Sidney collided with Ismail just short of the goal line for pass interference. The Ravens had a first down from the 2 with 49 seconds remaining.

After Lewis was stuffed for no gain on first down and the ball was spiked to stop the clock to set up a third-and-goal from the 2, Dilfer rolled to his right and fired a strike to Johnson, who kept his feet inbounds for the touchdown with 25 seconds to go.

Not only was Johnson the man Dilfer had targeted on his abysmal interception minutes earlier, but the former second-round pick who’d never lived up to expectations dropped a potential touchdown earlier that day. The extra point by Matt Stover gave the Ravens a 24-23 lead as Dilfer had answered the call.

“For me, poise is just trusting the people around me,” Dilfer said after the game. “I’ve lacked poise in my career because I didn’t trust what’s going on around me. I told these guys I’ve worked my whole career to play with a bunch of guys like this.”

The redemption story wasn’t quite complete, however, as McNair completed an 11-yard pass and then furiously broke free for a 20-yard scramble to move the Titans to the Baltimore 25 with only three seconds to go. Regarded as one of the league’s most reliable kickers for years, Del Greco would have his own chance at redemption with a 43-yard try to win it for Tennessee.

The kick faded wide right as Dilfer fell facedown in relief and Billick raised his arms in victory on the sideline. A game the Ravens had seemingly won, lost, won, and lost again ended in a critical 24-23 victory.

Dilfer wouldn’t be asked to be much more than a game manager for the rest of the season as a historic defense and strong running game led the way, but that touchdown drive spawned confidence that Baltimore could win with him under center. The win showed the Ravens could beat anybody anywhere and were legitimate Super Bowl contenders despite their troubling midseason swoon.

No one knew exactly what would unfold in the coming weeks and months, but anything seemed possible after that last-second win over the mighty Titans.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we have to come back here for the playoffs,” right tackle Harry Swayne said after the game. “If that’s the case, it’d be like, ‘We’ve been here. Let’s do it again.'”

The words proved prophetic two months later as another hard-fought win at Adelphia Coliseum in the divisional round — complete with more Del Greco woes — proved to be the defining stop on the Ravens’ path to their first Super Bowl.

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mcclain

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Ravens regular-season moment No. 4: Ruining homecoming

Posted on 23 June 2020 by Luke Jones

Check out the No. 5 regular-season moment in Ravens history HERE.

The 2008 Ravens were a Cinderella story with the clock threatening to strike midnight.

Coming off a 5-11 campaign that resulted in the dismissal of longtime head coach Brian Billick, Baltimore had been one of the NFL’s biggest surprises with former Philadelphia special teams coordinator John Harbaugh now in charge. An elite defense and robust running game had led the Ravens to an impressive 9-5 record entering Week 16, easing the pressure on rookie first-round quarterback Joe Flacco.

But the Ravens were coming off a heartbreaking home loss to Pittsburgh that clinched the AFC North championship for the rival Steelers the previous Sunday. The margin for error was gone for even a wild-card spot with Indianapolis on its way to securing the No. 5 seed with a nine-game winning streak and New England having the same record as the Ravens despite losing all-world quarterback Tom Brady in the season opener. A daunting trip to Dallas to take on the playoff-hopeful Cowboys threatened to put Baltimore’s playoff hopes on life support.

The story was bigger than playoff ramifications, however, with “America’s Team” closing Texas Stadium with numerous Cowboys legends present for the nationally televised Saturday night affair and post-game ceremony to follow. The Ravens were keenly aware of rumors — later confirmed — that Dallas owner Jerry Jones had requested Baltimore as the final “homecoming” opponent to help close the iconic venue. There was also the matter of Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett having declined an offer to become the Ravens’ new head coach 11 months earlier, paving the way for Harbaugh to accept the job.

The script wouldn’t go as Jones and the rest of the football world anticipated.

Despite a DeMarcus Ware strip-sack of Flacco setting up an easy touchdown early in the first quarter, the Ravens suffocated the Cowboys offense for three quarters with All-Pro safety Ed Reed intercepting Tony Romo twice. Only red-zone inefficiency kept the game close with Dallas native Matt Stover booting three short field goals in the first half to give Baltimore a 9-7 lead that endured late into the third quarter.

Seemingly ready to settle for another field goal, the Ravens ran a fake with holder Sam Koch for a first down that set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to veteran wideout Derrick Mason, who was playing with a painful shoulder injury. The score increased the lead to 16-7 and set the stage for one of the most memorable quarters in franchise history.

After registering no more than 24 yards on any of its first nine drives of the night, the Cowboys offense came alive to begin the final period with a 35-yard field goal to shrink the deficit to one score. The Ravens answered with another Stover field goal to make it 19-10 with 6:30 remaining, but Dallas wasn’t going away as Romo threw a 7-yard touchdown to future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens with 3:50 to play.

Trailing by just two and with all three timeouts remaining, the Cowboys knew their chances would come down to stopping the run with Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron unlikely to take any chances with his rookie quarterback. To that point, the Cowboys had held Baltimore to a respectable 3.7 yards per carry and called a run blitz before running back Willie McGahee took the inside hand-off on first-and-10 from the 23.

Breaking a couple feeble tackle attempts, McGahee sprinted 77 yards for the touchdown before a stunned crowd of 63,800 that had finally come alive moments earlier. The second-longest touchdown in franchise history — for the moment — gave the Ravens a 26-17 lead with 3:32 to go.

But the Cowboys still weren’t finished as Romo moved his two-minute offense down the field, finding Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten for a 21-yard touchdown pass to again make it a two-point game with 1:36 remaining. Still holding three timeouts and having scored on three straight drives against a tired Ravens defense, Dallas kicked the ball deep and again only needed to stop the run to keep hope alive.

On first-and-10 from his own 18-yard line, Flacco handed off to the 260-pound Le’Ron McClain.

Breaking a couple tackles before delivering a vicious stiff arm to Cowboys safety Ken Hamlin, the surprising Pro Bowl selection who led the 2008 team in rushing galloped 82 yards for the score, tying Jamal Lewis for the longest run in team history. Once again, the crowd was stunned.

On consecutive offensive snaps, McGahee and McClain had produced two of the three longest runs in Ravens history to deliver the knockout blow and close Texas Stadium for good. The outcome put Baltimore only a home win over lowly Jacksonville away from a playoff berth and an unforgettable run to the AFC Championship game.

The Ravens also took great satisfaction in ruining the party for the media darling Cowboys, who would also lose at Philadelphia the following week to miss the playoffs.

“We had a lot of politics that really made this game more fun,” outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said after the 33-24 win. “They personally recommended us as their homecoming opponent. We just fed off that. We fed off it the whole game.

“We hope they enjoy their ceremony tonight, but I guess we were the dynamite.”

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Ravens regular-season moment No. 7: “Something that you dream of”

Posted on 16 June 2020 by Luke Jones

Check out the No. 8 regular-season moment in Ravens history HERE.

The 2003 season was turning into a nightmare for the Ravens, who had fallen to 5-5 after two straight road losses to St. Louis and Miami.

Despite a top-shelf defense and a historic campaign from running back Jamal Lewis, Brian Billick’s team was struggling mightily on offense and down to third-string quarterback Anthony Wright. In his first start for Baltimore the previous week, the 27-year-old had committed three turnovers in a 9-6 overtime loss to the Dolphins, looking the part of a former undrafted quarterback making only his sixth career start.

Returning home to play Seattle in Week 12, the Ravens needed a win to stop the bleeding and to keep pace with surprising Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North. What was to come would be one of the most exciting games in the history of M&T Bank Stadium.

No one knew it early, however, as the teams combined for just six points in the first 29 minutes of play before a pair of touchdown passes by Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the final 30 seconds of the half — a disastrous fumble had given the ball back to Seattle after the first one — gave Seattle a 17-3 lead at intermission. Wright’s second start was looking much like the previous week as he went just 3-for-9 for 37 yards.

Something had to give.

The difference would be Wright’s former college teammate at South Carolina, Marcus Robinson, who had been a non-factor in his first season with the Ravens. Once a 1,400-yard receiver with Chicago, Robinson had caught only nine passes for 76 yards in his first nine games of 2003, showing little chemistry with rookie quarterback Kyle Boller.

Wright and Robinson connected for a 13-yard score to open the second half, the first touchdown scored by the Ravens in two weeks. The pair hooked up for two more touchdowns — 50-yard and 25-yard strikes — in the third quarter, but the problem was the vaunted Ravens defense that suddenly couldn’t stop the Seahawks. Hasselbeck threw three more touchdowns in the second half to give Seattle a 41-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Wright’s mojo temporarily stalled as the Ravens punted on back-to-back possessions, but the second resulted in a muff recovered by Baltimore at the Seattle 35. With the Ravens having a chance to shrink the deficit to two scores with a little over nine minutes to play, Lewis instead coughed up the ball on first down, giving possession right back to the Seahawks.

A comeback just wasn’t in the cards as a sizable portion of the home crowd began heading for the exits, resigned to a third straight loss going into Thanksgiving.

Or so we thought.

A bloodied Baltimore defense forced a three-and-out to set up a punt. Already showing a Hall-of-Fame ability to block punts in only his second season, safety Ed Reed used a beautiful inside swim move to block Tom Rouen’s kick, picked up the ball, and scored to make it a 41-31 game with 6:41 remaining. It was a remarkable play by Reed, but the touchdown felt too little, too late for those still watching.

On the next possession, Seattle picked up three first downs to move into field-goal range and continue draining clock before Pro Bowl inside linebacker and 2003 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis stripped Seahawks fullback Mack Strong of the football. Lewis recovered at his own 29 to give possession back to the Ravens with 4:16 to go, leaving a glimmer of hope for remaining fans.

Needing a miracle conversion of a fourth-and-28 coming out of the two-minute warning, Wright chucked a deep ball to Robinson that deflected off his hands and into the arms of fellow wide receiver Frank Sanders, giving Baltimore a first down at the 21.

Four plays later, Wright and Robinson found the end zone for a fourth time in the second half, trimming the deficit to 41-38 with 1:12 to go.

It again appeared over after an unsuccessful onside kick, but the Ravens still weren’t done. An unthinkable clock snafu by the officiating crew essentially granted Baltimore an extra timeout before the defense stuffed a fourth-and-1 Hasselbeck sneak to get the ball back with 39 seconds left. Two plays later, Wright threw another deep ball to Robinson incomplete, but a 44-yard pass interference call set up a Matt Stover 40-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.

Sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good.

After the Ravens defense forced a Seattle punt on the opening series of overtime, Wright went to the magical connection a final time, completing a 19-yard pass to Robinson on third-and-15 to put his team in field-goal range. After three more Jamal Lewis rushes, Stover booted the 42-yard field goal to complete the largest comeback victory in franchise history.

The amazing 44-41 win sparked a 5-1 finish to the regular season that resulted in the first AFC North championship in team history. And though the Ravens would erase larger deficits — all with more time remaining — in the years that followed, none were as dramatic or meaningful as that season-altering win.

Going 20-for-37 for 319 yards and a 119.1 passer rating, Wright wouldn’t come close to matching his career day for the remainder of that season and his tenure with the Ravens, but his four touchdown passes to Robinson rate among the most improbable single-game efforts in the history of the franchise. It was a day the journeyman quarterback would never forget.

“This is something that you dream of,” said an emotional Wright, whose wife gave birth to their second daughter later that evening. “This is something that you write in books. This is something you think would never happen to you.

“For us to come back and win this game was unimaginable.”

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jamal295

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Ravens regular-season moment No. 8: “I guess the dude is Nostradamus”

Posted on 12 June 2020 by Luke Jones

Check out the No. 9 regular-season moment in Ravens history HERE.

Coming off a disappointing Week 1 loss at Pittsburgh, the 2003 Ravens were preparing for their home opener when Jamal Lewis chatted with Cleveland linebacker Andra Davis on the phone.

The Browns were coming off their first playoff appearance since rejoining the NFL in 1999 and looking for a mental edge as Davis told the Ravens running back he’d have a difficult time that Sunday. Having already rushed for more than 1,300 yards in each of his two healthy professional seasons — he missed all of 2001 due to a torn ACL — Lewis predicted he would set a new NFL record if he received 30 carries against Cleveland.

Cincinnati’s Corey Dillon had set the leading mark of 278 rushing yards in a game just three years earlier, but Lewis wasted no time signaling his intentions on his first rush of the day.

After losing his balance and nearly falling, Lewis exploded to the second level, stiff-armed Browns linebacker Kevin Bentley, and raced 82 yards for a touchdown, the longest run in franchise history. The physicality was nothing new, but watching the 240-pound back pull away from members of the Browns secondary was a sight to behold.

His next run went for 23 yards, giving the 2000 first-round pick from Tennessee an incredible 105 yards on two carries. With rookie quarterback Kyle Boller making only his second NFL start that day, the Ravens made clear their decision to ride Lewis against a seemingly helpless Browns defense.

A 48-yard run in the second quarter — that would have been a 60-yard touchdown if not for a holding penalty — set up a Matt Stover fielder goal to give the Ravens a 13-3 lead. Before a jubilant sellout crowd at M&T Bank Stadium, Lewis went into the halftime locker room having rushed 16 times for 180 yards, already the third-highest single-game total to that point in his career.

To their credit, the Browns appeared to find some answers in the third quarter as Lewis was held to only 15 yards on six carries and the Ravens led 16-13 going into the final period.

But Lewis began the fourth quarter just like he started the game.

The 63-yard touchdown pushed Lewis over the 250-yard rushing mark and within striking distance of Dillon’s record with nearly a full quarter to play. On the next drive, his fifth carry of 18 or more yards left him one yard shy of history.

The record-breaking run was an ordinary 3-yard gain — with Davis making the tackle — midway through the fourth quarter. The Ravens were forced to punt after failing to convert that third-and-long situation, but the home crowd erupted as the announcement came that Lewis had just set the new league record.

Carrying the ball four more times on Baltimore’s last drive, Lewis fell five yards short of 300. Still, a 295-yard rushing day on 30 attempts had more than supported his bold claim from earlier in the week.

After the Ravens’ 33-13 victory, Browns safety Earl Little lamented, “I guess the dude is Nostradamus.”

In his post-game press conference, Lewis denied that he had predicted a new NFL record, claiming he only said he’d have “a career day” if the Ravens gave him 30 carries and that the feat was “lucky.” But the 24-year-old would embarrass the Browns again in Week 16 with a 205-yard rushing performance and finished 2003 by becoming the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

“Andra said he wanted to bet that I wouldn’t get 100 yards,” said Lewis about the beginning of that record-setting game. “I don’t bet because that’s a jinx, but after I got that 80-yarder, I went up to him and asked if the bet [for] 100 was still on.

“I don’t know if he heard me.”

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Baltimore, Md. -- 11/20/2011 -- Matt Stover, former kicker for the Baltimore Ravens points skyward like he used to do following field goal attempts, during halftime festivities to place his name in the Ravens' Ring of Honor Sun, Nov. 20, 2011. The Ravens won, 31-24, seizing first place in a critical AFC matchup. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun Staff) [FBN BENGALS RAVENS (_D3S2838.JPG)]

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Matt Stover weighs in on Ravens late game heroics against the Browns

Posted on 01 December 2015 by WNST Audio

Baltimore, Md. -- 11/20/2011 -- Matt Stover, former kicker for the Baltimore Ravens points skyward like he used to do following field goal attempts, during halftime festivities to place his name in the Ravens' Ring of Honor Sun, Nov. 20, 2011. The Ravens won, 31-24, seizing first place in a critical AFC matchup. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun Staff) [FBN BENGALS RAVENS (_D3S2838.JPG)]

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NFL announces additional kickoff week events around Baltimore

Posted on 29 August 2013 by WNST Staff

NFL HOSTS KICKOFF EVENTS IN BALTIMORE TO CELEBRATE SUPER BOWL CHAMPION RAVENS & RETURN OF FOOTBALL

 

Events Will Take Place September 3-5

 

2013 NFL Kickoff will bring music, youth football, and a spirit of community to Baltimore as fans nationwide get Back To Football.

The following are opportunities for fans and media to take part in the Kickoff celebrations throughout Baltimore. Fans and media should visit www.nfl.com/kickoff and follow @NFL345 on Twitter for the most up-to-date Kickoff details. 

NFL KICKOFF CONCERT STAGE ARRIVAL

On Monday, September 2 at 6:00 a.m. the NFL Kickoff concert stage will be tugged into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor across from the Maryland Science Center. Media can capture the first shots of the stage that KEITH URBAN will perform on Thursday night as part of the unprecedented celebration for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

 

B-ROLL OPPORTUNITY: RAVENS LOGOS PAINTED ON YOUTH FIELD

On Monday, September 2 at 12:30 p.m., media can capture the iconic Baltimore Ravens logo being painted on the field that will be home to the NFL PLAY 60 Youth Football Festival at UTZ Field at Patterson Park.  Baltimore Ravens Director of Fields and Grounds DON FOLLETT will be on site along with executives from the NFL’s Creative Department.

 

NFL KICKOFF COMMUNITY LEGACY PROJECT

Former Ravens players JAMAL LEWIS and DUANE STARKS will join volunteers from the NFL, United Way and the National Dairy Council for a community service project at Hilton Elementary (3301 Carlisle Ave.) on Wednesday, September 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Baltimore Mayor STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE will take part in the event at 11:30 a.m., followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony. Hilton Elementary was identified by the Ravens and the National Dairy Council for their successful participation in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.  Volunteers will transform the outdoor area behind the school adding a greenhouse and garden beds. In addition, a new active play space will be built to inspire creativity, learning and cooperation among students.

KICKOFF VILLAGE

The NFL Kickoff Village will be open to fans on Wednesday, September 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Thursday, September 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:15 p.m at McKeldin Square and the Harborplace Amphitheater. This fan zone is free and open to the public and brings fans closer to the NFL through sponsors’ activations and dynamic promotions. Sponsors include: Bridgestone, GMC, Pepsi, Snickers and Verizon. NFL Legends will be on hand both days to sign autographs for fans.

For more information including interview opportunities with NFL executives, contact Joanna Hunter (Joanna.hunter@nfl.com).

 

NFL PLAY 60 YOUTH FOOTBALL FESTIVAL

The NFL PLAY 60 Youth Football Festival will take place Wednesday, September 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Thursday, September 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Former Ravens players including Hall of Famer ROD WOODSON and JAMAL LEWIS, KYLE RICHARDSON, JAMIE SHARPER, DUANE STARKS and MATT STOVER will team up with more than 850 students from the area to celebrate the start of the NFL season at UTZ Field at Patterson Park (200 S Linwood Ave). Students will learn NFL FLAG drills and Heads Up Football skills from USA Football coaches and participate in activities with players. Children will also learn about hydration, helmet fitting, and concussion awareness. NFL PLAY 60 partners HOPSports, National Dairy Council and Under Armour will be on-site as part of their ongoing commitment to motivate youth and families to be active.

 

FULL CLINIC SCHEDULE: 

Wednesday, September 4

  • ·         Clinic #1 (12:00-1:00 P.M.): Matt Stover, Kyle Richardson
  • ·         Clinic #2 (1:00-2:00 P.M): Matt Stover, Kyle Richardson
  • ·         Clinic #3   (2:00-3:00 P.M.):  TBA

Thursday, April 25

  • ·         Clinic #1 (10:30-11:30 A.M.): Jamal Lewis
  • ·         Clinic #2 (11:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M): Jamal Lewis
  • ·         Clinic #3   (1:00-2:00 P.M.): Duane Starks
  • ·         Clinic #4   (2:00-3:00 P.M.): Duane Starks
  • ·         Clinic #5   (4:30-5:00 P.M.): Jamie Sharper, Rod Woodson
  • ·         Clinic #6    (5:15-5:45 P.M.): Jamie Sharper, Rod Woodson
  • ·         Clinic #7    (6:00-6:30 P.M.): Jamie Sharper, Rod Woodson

 

UNDER ARMOUR | GE PRESS CONFERENCE ON HEAD HEALTH CHALLENGE II

The NFLGE and Under Armour will team up to kick off the second portion of the Head Health Challenge: Innovative Approaches for Identifying and Preventing Brain Injury on Wednesday, September 4 at 3:00 p.m. at Under Armour Global Headquarters (120 Hull Street, Baltimore). The event will include NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL, founder and CEO of Under Armour KEVIN PLANK, and SUE SIEGEL CEO of GE healthyimagination. BOOMER ESIASON will host the event, which also features CAL RIPKEN, JR.(MLB), LAVAR ARRINGTON (NFL) and STEELE STANWICK (Major League Lacrosse), and KELLY O’HARA (National Women’s Soccer League).

NFL BACK TO FOOTBALL RUN & PLAY 60 FUN RUN 

The special NFL Back To Football Run and NFL PLAY 60 Fun Run will take place Wednesday evening, Sept. 4 at M&T Bank Stadium. The Run Series invites fans to celebrate the return of football with a 5K starting at 7:00 p.m.; in addition, a half mile Play 60 Fun Run for youth fans begins at 6:00 p.m. (ages 6-12). Fans 5 and under can also participate in a run at 6:20 p.m. on the field.  The participants will experience the once in a lifetime chance to finish their race on the field of the very stadium where their Super Bowl champions play. Ravens cheerleaders and mascot Poe will be in attendance, and fans have an opportunity to receive autographs from Ravens alumni and take their photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Ravens alumni JAMAL LEWIS and KYLE RICHARDSON will be in attendance to help kick off the run and cheer on the runners.

Fans interested in participating in the run may sign up here: http://nflrunseries.com/ravens/. 

“NFL KICKOFF 2013 PRESENTED BY PEPSI” CONCERT

Grammy Award-winning singer KEITH URBAN will perform live, with activities beginning at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, September 5 for “NFL KICKOFF 2013 PRESENTED BY PEPSI,” the NFL’s 11th anniversary Kickoff celebration to kick off the season and celebrate the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The event is free and open to the public.   Urban will perform from a floating stage barge in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor adjacent to the Maryland Science Center. The event will include music, fireworks, a showing of “America’s Game: 2012 Baltimore Ravens,” and a water light show.

To ensure public safety and security, the following items are prohibited: weapons, alcohol, food, beverages, all glass containers, fireworks, all chairs, tents of any kind, barbecue grills of any kind, umbrellas, blankets of any kind, cameras with lens over 12”, obstructive signs and animals other than service animals.

All attendees are subject to search, and prohibited items may not be abandoned at security checkpoints. Please allow adequate time to pass through security checkpoints before activities begin.

Guests can enter the concert site at the Baltimore Visitor Center on Light Street at Conway Street or off of Key Highway between the Science Center and Rash Field.  The entrances will open to the public beginning at 6pm on Thursday, September 5.

Guests may view the concert from the general public viewing areas, which are adjacent to the Maryland Science Center and are directly in front of the stage. Access to the general public viewing areas is first come, first served. Guests also may enjoy the concert from West Shore Park and along the Inner Harbor promenade.

Guests planning to attend the event should follow @NFL345 on Twitter for the most up-to-date concert details.

Simulcast coverage of the 60-minute pregame show will air from 7:30 to 8:30 PM ET on NBC and NFL Network.  The show leads into the season opener between the Ravens and the Denver Broncos at Sport Authority Field at Mile High (NBC, NBCSports.com, Westwood One Radio Sports, 8:30 PM ET).

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Ravens gather to commemorate Super Bowl XLVII a final time

Posted on 08 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Super Bowl ring ceremony was quite the extravagant party in Owings Mills that served as a reunion for the 2012 Ravens as well as the final big celebration of the second championship in franchise history.

Yes, Baltimore’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 15 will include the unveiling of a second Super Bowl championship banner, but that ceremony will be overshadowed by an actual game and won’t include those who’ve moved on to other organizations but were able to return to the team’s facility to receive their lavish Super Bowl rings.

Media access was limited at Friday night’s event as it was a party for members of the organization, but the Ravens provided an interesting foursome of players to speak to the media minutes after the rings were unveiled.

Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, and Torrey Smith all stood at different stages of their career as they received their championship rings with the 38-year-old Lewis speaking to reporters first. Having retired after winning his second championship, Lewis spoke as a fatherly figure throughout the postseason and once again expressed his satisfaction over not only having the opportunity to go out on top but to see his teammates experience what it meant to be a champion.

“I always told them I wanted them to really feel what the confetti felt like. Now to be here, to have something that symbolizes it, it’s the ultimate because now it connects us forever,” said Lewis, who also wore his Super Bowl XXXV ring after receiving the Super Bowl XLVII one to wear on his opposite hand. “It took me 12 years to get back and get another ring. I want them to cherish what this moment feels like right now while we’re world champions.”

Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP, responded only how he could with the honest assessment of a gaudy ring that includes white gold and 243 round-cut diamonds. As Lewis pointed out, Flacco won a championship in his fifth season — like the linebacker did with the 2000 Ravens — and the championship surely provided validation in the minds of those who wondered whether he could lead Baltimore to a championship.

The quarterback admitted he probably won’t wear the ring, but it won’t be sitting locked up in his closet either.

“It’s kind of unwearable,” said Flacco, drawing laughter from reporters. “When I see people for the first time, I’m sure they’re going to have some interest in seeing it or at least I’m going to have some interest in showing it off to them. I’m definitely going to bring it a couple of places. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m going to wear it, but it’s pretty special.”

Entering his third season, Smith represented the younger players on the roster fortunate enough not to wait long to taste Super Bowl glory in their NFL careers.

And the former University of Maryland product struggled to keep his eyes off the hardware as he spoke to media.

“I told you all what I was going to be like. I didn’t cry or anything, but I can see how women feel when they get a ring,” said Smith as he laughed. “It has a lot of different meanings. There will never be another season like this. We can win the Super Bowl every year while I’m in the league and there will be nothing like this one.”

The most intriguing of the four to speak was 11th-year linebacker Terrell Suggs, who finally earned the Super Bowl ring he’s dreamed about after starring on the vaunted Baltimore defense for a decade. While Lewis, Flacco, and future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed received most of the attention for different reasons, Suggs won his first championship after the most difficult season of his career in which he recovered from a torn Achilles tendon in late April and then played with a torn biceps for the final two months of the 2012 season.

Always one to provide a colorful quote and having the reputation of being the class clown of the Ravens locker room, Suggs’ sincerity in describing how he felt upon finally seeing his first piece of championship jewelry was the highlight of the brief session.

“To have it so close, it finally hit me what exactly we accomplished together,” said Suggs, who figured out his ring was hidden in front of him when he was discouraged from moving his seat at the beginning of the ceremony. “It didn’t take a year. It took me 11 years to get it. It took coach [John] Harbaugh from when he got here in 2008 — we’ve been chasing this. It finally paid off, all that blood given. There’s not a word that describes what I’m feeling right now and all the emotions.

“The journey was long, but it was worth it. But I will tell you this, I damn sure want to feel like this again.”

Owner Steve Bisciotti took care of former members of the organization by not only awarding Super Bowl rings to David and John Modell, the sons of the late owner Art Modell, but to the five members of the team’s Ring of Honor who played on the Super Bowl XXXV championship team. It appears Bisciotti is setting a precedent by giving rings to Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Michael McCrary, Matt Stover, and Jamal Lewis, but fellow Ring of Honor member Earnest Byner wasn’t included in that group.

Byner was the only member of the Ring of Honor to have played for the Ravens — the Hall of Fame members of the Baltimore Colts are also honored — who did not receive a ring, so it appears this is a subtle way of ignoring the former Browns, Redskins, and Ravens running back’s inclusion, which was never accepted by fans from the time Byner was inducted in 2001.

He was a favorite of the late Modell, but seeing Byner’s name listed among Ravens greats as well as the Hall of Fame Colts has always looked out of place.

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Former Ravens K Stover Not Worried About Cundiff After Recent Conversation

Posted on 23 April 2012 by WNST Audio

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Ranking the Ravens’ biggest special teams needs

Posted on 17 February 2012 by Luke Jones

As the start of free agency moves closer and teams prepare for April’s draft, the Ravens continue to evaluate their needs in all three phases of the game.

Earlier in the week, I looked at Baltimore’s biggest needs on offense as well as essentials for the defense. In the conclusion of a three-part series, we finally take a long at the often-forgotten but always-important phase of the game: special teams.

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron undoubtedly receives the most criticism among the coaches on the Ravens staff, but special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg may deserve the most heat after a disappointing 2011 season. According to footballoutsiders.com, the Ravens’ special teams ranked 30th in the league in a percentage contrived from efficiency in field goals, kickoffs, kickoff returns, punts, and punt returns.

Looking from a more simplistic stance, Rosburg’s units struggled in both kickoff coverage (31st) and punt coverage (24th) and allowed three returns for touchdowns. In the return game, the Ravens ranked ninth in kickoff return average and 19th in punt return average, rarely getting a significant spark from either group as injuries and ineffectiveness forced them to shuffle returners in and out of the lineup.

Kicker Billy Cundiff converted only 75.7 percent of his field goal attempts, ranking 28th in the league. The 2010 Pro Bowl kicker made only one of six attempts from 50 or more yards and was only 11-for-20 away from M&T Bank Stadium — where he was perfect on 17 attempts. And that’s not even taking into account his heartbreaking 32-yard miss in the closing seconds of the AFC championship game that would have sent the Ravens into overtime against New England.

If you’re looking for a bright spot, punter Sam Koch ranked 10th in punt average (46.5 yards) but 19th in net average, which was affected by the Ravens’ suspect coverage.

While it’s difficult to target a laundry list of special teams’ needs from a position-by-position standpoint — the units simply need to improve across the board — but two positions stand out this offseason.

1. Kicker

Before you get carried away, this isn’t the pitchfork mentality we’re talking about here. Cundiff isn’t going anywhere for now. However, his disappointing season topped off by the most devastating moment in the 16-year history of the franchise can’t be forgotten as the Ravens assess their special teams.

To their credit, the organization and Cundiff have handled the miss with as much dignity as can be expected, with no one publicly questioning whether the Ravens should have kept veteran Shayne Graham to kick in the postseason. It’s been a credit to coach John Harbaugh and the family atmosphere in the locker room.

But what everyone is thinking privately is a different story. In his defense, Cundiff battled a left calf injury late in the season, but it doesn’t excuse what was a very inconsistent year after signing a five-year contract last January. For a kicker without a proven track record beyond his Pro Bowl season a year ago, Cundiff may have reverted back to the inconsistent performer seen early in his career.

The Ravens need to bring in another kicker to seriously compete against Cundiff during the preseason. The organization will keep Cundiff for now in hopes of avoiding the situation in which they found themselves in 2009 after parting company with Matt Stover. Neither Steve Hauschka nor Graham Gano were fit for the job, forcing the Ravens to scramble during the regular season until they settled on Cundiff.

It needs to be a serious competition, whether the Ravens elect to find a rookie coming out of college such as Randy Bullock of Texas A&M or a veteran on the open market. Graham wasn’t good enough to win the competition against Cundiff two years ago and has struggled with long-distance kicks in recent years, so it makes little sense to bring him back for the competition.

Even if Cundiff performs admirably in the preseason and wins the battle, the Ravens and their fans simply won’t know whether he’s recovered from the disappointment in Foxborough until he finds himself in another late-game situation. It’s difficult to envision the Ravens ever fully trusting Cundiff again, but they’ll at least give him a chance in the preseason before moving on for good.

2. Kickoff-Punt Returner

The Ravens had 10 different players return kickoffs — three of those only returned squibs or pooch kicks —  in 2011 and never found stability at the position. Second-year return specialist David Reed was demoted after two fumbles on returns against the Seattle Seahawks and then tore his ACL when he finally earned another opportunity to handle kickoffs.

While Reed will certainly find himself in the mix if he proves healthy in recovering from the knee injury this offseason, the Ravens must look to add an impact returner, preferably someone who can handle both kickoffs and punts to allow Lardarius Webb to focus solely on his duties at cornerback. Field position is critical, and the return units rarely aided the Ravens offense in setting it up on a shorter field.

Of course, the new kickoff rule limited many returners across the league, but the Ravens cannot settle for a returner downing the ball in the end zone constantly as they did down the stretch with reserve safety Tom Zbikowski this past season.

The Ravens could look to the draft for a returner such as Arkansas receiver Joe Adams in the middle rounds, who could add depth in both areas. One name to keep an eye on in the preseason is receiver Phillip Livas, who was signed to the practice squad in the final weeks of the season. Though only 5-foot-8, Livas was a record-setting return man at Louisiana Tech and could be a sleeper to watch in the preseason.

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Stover set to join Ravens’ Ring of Honor on Sunday

Posted on 18 November 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — While the Ravens will be focused on keeping pace in the AFC North when they face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, they will also recognize one of their greatest contributors as Matt Stover joins a select group at M&T Bank Stadium.

Stover will be inducted into the Ring of Honor during halftime, and the franchise’s all-time leading scorer becomes the fifth former Ravens player — eight Baltimore Colts players and former owner Art Modell are also members — to receive the distinction.

“I can’t say enough about the community of Baltimore and how they embraced the team back in [1996],” Stover said. “Remember, I was part of that. Just for me to be up there, everybody else is going to be up there with me. It’s not just Matt Stover. I don’t take full credit.”

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By the time Stover finished his tenure with the Ravens in 2008, he was the only remaining member of the team who had made the move from Cleveland to Baltimore, earning him a special place in the hearts of fans. After he was unable to come to an agreement with the Ravens for a return in 2009, Stover eventually joined the Indianapolis Colts later that season when their regular kicker Adam Vinatieri went down with an injury.

Despite earning the opportunity to play with Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV, Stover met with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to clear the air for any possible misunderstanding that might have lingered about his departure after 13 years in Baltimore. His 207 games as a Raven rank as the second most in team history behind Ray Lewis.

“He kind of understood the situation prior to me even speaking to him, but I just wanted to sit down, man-to-man, because I respect him so much to say, ‘Look, here’s what happened,'” Stover said. “Right after that, he says, ‘You know, Matt, your name is going in that Ring of Honor.’ I went, ‘Wow. Are you kidding me? You want that for me? Unbelievable.'”

When asked about the favorite kick of his career, Stover recalled his game-winning kick against the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 divisional playoffs to send the Ravens to the AFC Championship game in a surprising season. The long-time kicker then mentioned his field goal shortly before halftime of Super Bowl XXXV to give the Ravens a 10-0 lead.

Because of the dominance exhibited by the 2000 defense, Stover’s field goal before intermission proved to be the game-deciding points.

“We get into the locker room at halftime, and the defense says, ‘It’s over. It’s over,'” Stover recalled. “I still get chills up my spine whenever I say that. It’s like, ‘It’s over? We only have 10 points!’ And they said, ‘They’re not scoring twice on us.’ And they didn’t.”

Stover may not have finished his career in Baltimore, but the man who produced 14 career game-winning field goals has no regrets about his time with the Ravens.

“I appreciated the opportunity that I had to play here,” Stover said. “It was a privilege to play. It was never something that I thought I deserved. I think with that mindset, it allowed me to step away from the game and say, ‘Hey, that was fun.'”

Listen to Matt Stover’s Ring of Honor press conference in Owings Mills right here.

 

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